It's no secret that Halloween ignites strong debates among Christian parents. Every fall, I can safely bet that someone from church will ask me if my family "celebrates" Halloween, and the truth is that I actually enjoy the question. My answer is always, "We 'celebrate,' but we don't celebrate Halloween." In other words, we make Halloween an occasion to celebrate our family without supporting the "darker side" of the holiday. Over the years, we have come up with some great activities to strengthen our family ties in late October that you can use whether you participate in Halloween or not.
1. Mystery Bowling
My parents are responsible for inventing something that's become a fall tradition for my family, the game of Mystery Bowling. They figured that since many other families were out trick-or-treating, the bowling alley would be quite empty. They were right. So a few days before Halloween, they would sit down with a homemade bowling card to map out a goofy game of Mystery Bowling.
To create your own game of Mystery Bowling, first think of a different bowling stance to be used in each of the ten bowling frames. For example, our family has bowled some frames backwards, some frames with our weak hand, and some frames tiptoeing up to the lane while holding the ball above our heads like Fred Flintstone. Next, give each frame a score requirement. For instance, you might require your family members to knock down three pins in frame one while frame two might require six or seven pins. Any bowler who doesn't meet the pin requirement must choose a silly costume piece to wear during the next frame: a hat, a skirt, even a big curly wig. If a bowler does meet the pin requirement he might earn a piece of candy or a bag of chips. I can still remember how hilarious it was to watch my father twirl down the lane with a bowling ball in one hand and a lace doily on his head. Our game of Mystery Bowling has allowed us to enjoy the positive parts of the holiday?the candy, the dress up, and the silliness?without worrying about the unsafe aspects. On occasion, we were even able to share the purpose of our game with others at the bowling alley.1